Justin Olivetti

Senior Reporter

A casual gamer and long-time MMO fan, Justin is often heard yelling, "Player housing for all!" in the Massively Overpowered offices. In addition to news, he tackles LOTRO Legendarium for LOTRO, The Perfect Ten, Jukebox Heroes, the retrospective Game Archaeologist series, One Shots, and the Massively OP podcast.

Personal blog: BioBreak
Twitter: @sypster

LOTRO fights the lag monster of Update 20

It stands to reason that Lord of the Rings Online players are pretty thrilled this week to be exploring the outskirts of Mordor, but this excitement has been tempered by severe lag that is hitting many of the servers. Standing Stone Games acknowledged the problem yesterday and said that it is working on a fix.

"We are aware of the lag issues occurring in the new U20 regions and are working on a solution," the studio said on the forums. "We will be making changes to live servers shortly in response to the lag seen in areas of the Update 20 landscape. We will continue to monitor both client- and server-based lag from there, and are planning a patch for early next week."

On an Update 20-related note, players commented on the quality of the promotional artwork for the patch. SSG informed the community that it had commissioned renowned Tolkien artist Ted Nasmith to create the illustration and that a wallpaper version will be forthcoming.

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Riders of Icarus increases the level cap, adds rainforest zone in Corruption of Light, now live

Exciting things are afoot at Riders of Icarus, as the year-old MMO rolled out its Corruption of Light update with plenty of new content for players to enjoy.

For starters, there's a level cap increase to 55, meaning that everyone has a little more to do to max out their characters. With that cap increase comes one or two new skills per class, such as the Assassin's throat cut ability or the Wizard's fire pillar spell.

Next up for the game is a rainforest region, Ellora Sanctuary and Windhome Canyon. This area is for characters level 49 and up, and contains over 230 new quests and a pair of additional field raid bosses to tackle.

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Perfect Ten: Memories of an Anarchy Online noob

My initial foray into MMORPGs was, to put it nicely, quite ungraceful. I wasn't even aware that they were a thing until about the year 2000, when I started to notice EverQuest and Asheron's Call boxes on the shelves. But stories about addiction from friends and the seeming obtuse nature of these games kept me from trying... until fall 2001, that was.

That's when I saw a sci-fi title lumped together in this unknown category, and I had liked Funcom's The Longest Journey so much that I thought I'd take a chance on this odd online game. My subsequent experiences in Anarchy Online were fragmented, ignominious, and confusing as all get out. It was so weird, in fact, that I needed a "redo" of City of Heroes several years later to properly get onto the MMO bandwagon (and I haven't fallen off since!).

So what was it like being a total Anarchy Online -- and MMO -- noob back in the day, feeling out this game from a position of complete ignorance? Glad you asked, friend, because I'm going to tell you all about it.

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The Secret World welcomes new community manager, should talk about relaunch plans soon

Ever since finding out in late February that Funcom has plans to relaunch The Secret World with a new business model and redesigned combat, players have been desperate for more information on how this all will shake out. Fortunately, we're about to end a month of speculation, as the studio will reportedly be opening up on the subject soon.

According to a player post on the forums, Funcom said on a livestream that it will be talking about the "big update" by the end of March -- so sometime in the next week -- but is keeping silent until then. That might prove welcome news for fans that have started to feel stressed out about the lack of communication on this relaunch so far.

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EVE Online's huge stations will soon mine entire moons

That's no moon, it's a space station... that's mining the innards out of that moon.

It is, of course, one of EVE Online's "upwell structures," massive player-built facilities that float about in space and perform useful tasks. As last year's citadels and engineering structures have proved a hit, CCP is now working on a new type of upwell structure, refineries, for its next patch.

"Refineries will be the premiere structure for resource collection and processing, with bonuses to reprocessing and the exclusive ability to fit moon mining and reaction service modules," the studio wrote. "These structures will usher in completely new gameplay for moon mining and reactions, as well as linking into future resource collection gameplay."

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Jukebox Heroes: Your favorite MMO themes, #18-13

Last week we were off to a great start as we listened to the first batch of player-voted favorite MMO themes. As I said then, the results of the voting, in which I asked players to nominate up to 10 of their favorite main themes from online games, were both predictable and surprising. Nostalgia and familiarity obviously play a strong role in many of these votes, but no one was asking for objectivity here!

Today we're going to continue our countdown to the top spot by looking at numbers 18 through 13 of your favorite MMO themes. I think there's a good mix here, perhaps with tunes that I would have placed a little higher, but overall it's gratifying to see each one of these make the list.

Enough jibber-jabber, let's get to it!

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Diablo III finally brings seasons to consoles

Remember how Blizzard told us that it just wasn't going to implement its Diablo III season campaigns for the game's console versions? A year later and it seems that either the studio had a change of heart or its technical wizards figured out how to make it happen because console seasons are about to kick off at the end of this month.

On March 31st, both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will enjoy their very first seasonal journey in the game, offering players an opportunity to level up new characters to pursue special challenges. Players can either create a brand-new character from scratch for the season or choose to "rebirth" an existing character back to level 1 for the duration of the event.

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Neverwinter proclaims the Day of the Dungeon Master

The dice are back, baby! A while ago, Cryptic paid homage to Neverwinter's tabletop roots by incorporating an Inception-like pen-and-paper experience into the MMORPG. If you missed them the first time around or want to enjoy them again, these campaigns are back for a full month that Neverwinter is dubbing the "Day of the Dungeon Master."

Starting tomorrow and continuing for the next four weeks, players can return to the Burrow Dawn Inn to experience four tabletop campaigns for fun and rewards. Rewards you say? Yes, there are plenty to be had such as a pewter golem and an "adorable pocket pet."

Perhaps the best prize, however, is a Beholder Personal Tank, which is just about the most awesome thing we've ever seen in an MMORPG. Check it out below!

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Perfect World sees mobile sales jump up in 2016

When it comes to financial reports, there's always one word that every investor wants to see: growth. And for those that read Perfect World's 2016 annual report, that's exactly what they saw.

The international publisher, which operates titles as diverse as Dota 2 (in China) and Star Trek Online as well as other media properties, reported that it had a very good year, raking in 6.1 billion yuan over the course of 2016. Its gaming division was responsible for over two-thirds of this revenue and an impressive 25% growth compared to 2015.

What's interesting here is that while PC game sales remained relatively stable and flat, it was the mobile market that was the driving force behind this increase in Perfect World's income. This means that we can expect to see the company put an even higher priority on developing and publishing mobile titles in the future.

Source: Superdata

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Eternal Crusade triples daily active users after free-to-play switch

Thanks to this past week's introduction of a free-to-play model, Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade saw a massive jump in its player population. The team reports that concurrency doubled practically overnight while daily active users tripled to 44,619.

While this is certainly a cause for celebration among the team, the huge influx of players caused some technical issues that required a weekend of hard work to sort out. There's still more to be done, as some guild services and the world map are being reworked to accommodate the larger crowd.

The team also said that it's making a few adjustments to its Steam offerings, such as bundling together the four DLCs into a single purchasable package. Also: "Steam is working on the giftable version of the game for all players that bought the game before we launched the free version. Apparently, this is not straightforward but we'll figure out something, or an equivalent."

Source: Steam

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO gave you the longest honeymoon period?

We all know how delightful that "new MMO smell" is, particularly when it's a particularly exciting title that you were anticipating for a long time. Finally getting into the live game, creating your first character, and celebrating with everyone else rushing into release is a heady experience.

After that comes the honeymoon period, in which you continually discover great features about the game and easily devote most of your gaming time to exploring. It's fresh, it's new, and it could be "The One" you were waiting for your whole life. But sooner or later, the honeymoon must end and either an ongoing relationship is formed or you find yourself disillusioned and wander away.

Looking back at all of the MMORPGs you've played, which one provided you with the longest honeymoon period? From release until whenever you stopped being enamored with that game, how much time did you have?

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 109: We are all Dragonborn

Roll for initiative! Bree and Justin are getting all kinds of nerdy with this week's show, in which they talk about Dragon-people, the return of a long-abandoned sci-fi game, a momentous anniversary, and the viability of sandbox MMOs.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Project Genom's content update date uncertain, progress assured

There's certainly a lot to digest in the most recent Project Genom newsletter, although perhaps the most important item is buried all of the way at the end. The team said that despite getting asked about it a lot, it simply does not know when the next big update will be pushed out to the game. Perhaps in the first half of this year, but no promises.

Even so, it sounds as if the game is making terrific progress as of late. The team listed several accomplishments, including multi-racial female heads, more polish to the world around the main camp, a futuristic tow truck that you can drive, NPC animations and the final integration of the male model. The team is asking the community about whether or not NPCs should follow a day/night cycle in their activities, even if it interferes with quest pickup and delivery.

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